Circular needle and Magic Loop questions

I am a beginning knitter - I’ve made a few baby hats and booties and am finishing my first baby sweater. I want to make Kate’s Cap from Designs by Louise and it calls for 16 inch #7 circular needles and DPN. After reading about Magic Loop I think I might prefer to try that technique over DPN. I don’t have any circular needles at all and I just am not sure what to buy.

So many people here seem to recommend using circular needles over straight and I bet I will agree once I try it. So I am considering purchasing Knit Picks Options set. Do you recommend this kit? But it doesn’t include a 16 inch circular - does that matter? Can I use a larger size or will that mess it up? What about the Clover Bamboo circulars? Are they good for regular circular knitting AND for Magic Loop? The Options seem like a good deal instead of having to run to the store every time you need a different size. But I do tend to make mostly baby size stuff right now so if the lack of smaller length needles is a problem, maybe it won’t be a good buy…

Thank you!

You actually need a longer circular to do Magic Loop. I use my Options for ML all the time; they have the best cables around.

If it’s a small item, the 24" cable should be fine. For a medium item, you can use the 36", and if that’s not large enough, you can order a 40" (or larger) cable set. I use the 40" cable to knit 2 socks at once with Magic Loop and it’s a perfect fit.

Welcome to the forum! :cheering:

I like Options best for magic loop too. You can get needles with shorter cables in other brands (like a 12" Addi Turbo or 8.5" clover minis), but if you’re going to do hats, you’ll have to switch over to a longer circ at some point to do the crown on magic loop. You might want to test drive a few Options pieces before deciding to get more. (You can get a needle size not included in the set if you think you might get the set later and don’t want duplicate needles.) For magic loop, you probably want a 40" cable – keep in mind that for a baby hat, that means that you will need to start out with magic loop from the beginning.

A note about the clover minis – I haven’t tried them, but I have to admit that the short sizes have tempted me in the past. Instead of having two needles with a cable in between, it’s one continuous piece of plastic – the problem is, I don’t see how they would be comfortable to use, even with small hands. I would advise against them since magic loop is so easy on Options. (Just wanted to let you know what else is out there.)

Thanks for your help! I just edited my post b/c I think I wasn’t clear. Sounds like the Options are pretty good. But can I use 24" circulars for a project that calls for 16" ones? (for non-Magic Loop knitting)

No, you cannot use a 24" in place of a 16" in circular knitting. The stitches will not fit around the cable of the needle.

I 've found that ML with longer cables is actually much easier than using a 16 " one. See my post in General Knitting posted a little while ago. i got them for Christmas ! Love them!

Oh boy, now I am not sure what to buy. I am really interested in the Options but they don’t include a 16" cable and I do need the 16 inch #7 circular for this baby hat. How are Addi Turbo’s for regular circular knitting and for Magic Loop? I could buy a 16 inch for the first part of the pattern and a 40 inch for the Magic Loop at the end…I am bummed I don’t want to spend a fortune - that is why I thought the Options would be such a good idea. Any more suggestions? (I am finding this website hugely helpful!)

When using a circular needle for magic loop, do you need to use the same size as the dpn in the pattern?

You can use the longer one and Magic Loop the whole thing. Years before I ever heard of ML, I would do a single loop where I pull out the cord on only one side. I can use 24" and 32" ones for sleeves and hat tops, though I end up with ML when I get down to less than 10-12 stitches. Also, you could use a 24 inch one to start a hat; I made a beret on one, the beginning is about 20" and the stitches will stretch after the first few rows without stretching out of shape.


i use a 40 " for sweater sleeves , which are smaller in diameter than a hat. ML of course.

Thanks everyone! I ended up ordering 2 Addi Turbos from ebay 16" and 32" size 7 but I think I’ll buy the Options eventually.